ARC Book Review: Torn Away

Torn Away CoverBook: Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Published May 2014 by Little, Brown Books For Young Readers|200 pages

Where I Got It: I got a digital advanced copy from, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

You can find Torn Away on goodreads & Jennifer Brown on Twitter and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Born and raised in the Midwest, Jersey Cameron knows all about tornadoes. Or so she thinks. When her town is devastated by a twister, Jersey survives — but loses her mother, her young sister, and her home. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she’s sent to live with her only surviving relatives: first her biological father, then her estranged grandparents.

In an unfamiliar place, Jersey faces a reality she’s never considered before — one in which her mother wasn’t perfect, and neither were her grandparents, but they all loved her just the same. Together, they create a new definition of family. And that’s something no tornado can touch.

What I Thought:

After loving Hate List to pieces, I’ve been meaning to read everything else Jennifer Brown has written, and decided to start off with Torn Away.  Which I liked, but not as much as I was expecting or hoping to.

I think part of why I didn’t love it the way I expected to was that I love Hate List so much that it was going to take an amazing book to meet the really high expectations that Hate List set.

I liked that Jersey has to deal with people who are strangers to her, and that she starts to question the definition of family and who her parents really are.  I also liked seeing her deal with her step-father sending her to live with her only remaining biological family, because he’s grieving as well, and seeing her deal with the aftermath of the tornado.  How she was treated by some of the people in her life…they were so horrible to treat her the way they did, and she didn’t do a thing to deserve it, but I’m also glad that she found people who loved her and made an effort to be there for her.

Brown does such a great job at writing characters that you sympathasize with (like Jersey) and characters that make you really angry (like most of her remaining family).  That part was what I’ve come to expect in a Jennifer Brown novel.

There were other things I was expecting, but didn’t see in Torn Away.  I just needed more from Torn Away- more of the rebuilding and exploration of loss and grief in the wake of something that’s just HORRIBLE to deal with.  More about what her mom was like when she was younger, and more connection to her mother’s parents.  She did it so well in Hate List, and I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t there for me in Torn Away.  Torn Away felt really short to me, and I wish it had been longer- which might be why I feel like something was missing.  I was fully expecting to get emotional, and I definitely didn’t cry even though I was expecting to (and probably should have) at times.

Let’s Rate It:

I did like Torn Away, and how Jersey had to come to terms with everything that’s happened.  But I also wish there were to Torn Away, because things weren’t explored as much as I had hoped.  Torn Away gets 3 stars. 

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